Ambitious, compassionate, and driven: A prologue to the business women of a new India
The world isn’t just run by men in fancy, well-tailored suits anymore. There are many successful, driven women who have risen to the occasion and are breaking gender stereotypes to get into the driving seat of some of the biggest executive roles the corporate work sphere has to offer.
One such personality from India also happens to be one of the most powerful women in the world: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, Chairperson and MD of Biocon Limited.
Her success story is nothing short of magnificent.
What started off in a rented garage space in 1978 with a Rs. 10,000 seed budget now stands tall as one of the biggest bio-pharmaceutical companies in the world. Like all tales of success, even she faced numerous hurdles that started with the issue of her credibility. No bank she approached wanted to risk their business on a young, albeit ambitious, 25-year old with an untested business model and nonexistent credentials. Applications were rejected. Doors were shut.
But she braved the storm, built her company from the roots and within the first year of her firm’s inception, began exporting enzymes to various centres in the United States and Europe.
A year later in 1979, she spearheaded Biocon’s evolution from an industrial enzyme manufacturing business to a fully integrated biopharmaceutical entity with advanced research focus on oncology, diabetes and autoimmune diseases.
Presently, Biocon is a company with revenues close to $330 million.
While Mrs Shaw’s efforts were concentrated on building Biocon India from scratch, a rising trend amongst Indian businesswomen is to front the Indian chapter of major MNCs and corporates.
Aruna Jayanthi, CEO of Capgemini India comes to mind with her drive to bring Capgemini to the Indian market.
With over two decades of experience in the IT industry, Aruna Jayanthi now heads Capgemini’s operations in India, which is one of the biggest business units in the company’s portfolio.
Her job profile as the Chief Executive includes overseeing operations across various domains—Consulting, Outsourcing, & Technology services in India with the prime focus on increasing integration and performance of over 40,000 employees.
As a mother of one, Aruna juggles her responsibilities between home and work with aplomb.
There are several other examples of emerging leaders who have taken up challenging roles and delivered fantastic results by using innovative measures and an unorthodox approach to work.
Bajaj Finserv too has such enterprising women who not only juggle their personal and professional lives with elan but also pride themselves on learning new skills and donning new hats at workplace. For instance, Ms. Ajita Kakade, Head, Business and Employee Engagement, Bajaj Finserv has in her earlier avatars driven Operations, Customer Experience and Quality where she designed modules which were implemented by Bajaj Finance Ltd. across all their communication channels and has delivered satisfactory results over the turn of this decade. She’s not only agile as a leader but also an inspiration for many in the organisation who want to challenge the boundaries and break the glass ceiling to excel in the financial services sector.
With strong leadership skills at their core, Indian businesswomen have time and again proved that they can run a family and a billion-dollar empire hand in hand. Let’s take a moment to salute the elegance of womanhood. Happy International Women’s Day.